2016 Off Road Assualt on Mt. Mitchell Race Report

Race Report: Blue Ridge Adventures – Off-Road Assault on Mt Mitchell

The 2016 Off-Road Assault on Mt Mitchell (ORAMM) started off in downtown Old Fort, NC, for its 17th consecutive year, on Sunday, July 31, 2016. ORAMM was one of the earliest endurance mountain bike events in western North Carolina and has gained a reputation across the country for its challenging course, beautiful scenery and great support. For 2016, ORAMM saw riders from 26 different states, and as far away as Phoenix, AZ.


Due to construction on Old Hwy 70, there was a slight re-route this year that added an additional 2 miles onto an already long course. That still didn’t stop the top riders from setting a blistering pace of over 13 mph across 62 miles and over 10,000 feet of climbing.

The Blue Ridge Parkway, Kitsuma, Heartbreak Ridge and Curtis Creek are all names that come up over and over again when talking to ORAMM racers. With beautiful views, rooty and rocky descents and climbs, long singletrack downhills and gravel road climbs that will make even the toughest of riders quiver, ORAMM has it all, leaving lots of smiles and grimaces on the faces of riders new and old.

A nice size lead group of about 12-15 riders stuck together for over half of the race. As they made the long climb up Curtis Creek to the Blue Ridge Parkway, things started to break apart. This is where racers have to decide to stay with the leaders or save some for the last third portion of the course. When all was said and done the top 3 finishers came in less than 10 minutes of each other and the top 6 broke the 5 hour mark.

For the Open Men category, current course record holder, Thomas Turner, took the win with a time of 4hrs 34min. Tristan Cowie followed for 2nd place in 4hrs 37min and Matt Champion rounded out the top 3 in 4hrs 43min. The Open Women category saw impressive performances as well, with Jen Nielson coming in first at 6hrs 21min. Jordan Salman and Erin Setzer took 2nd and 3rd place, with times of 6hrs 39min and 6hrs 45min, respectively.


There are number of racers that choose to do a double-header, with the 26 mile Jerdon Mountain Challenge on Saturday and ORAMM on Sunday. Among these was Junior racer, Chad Hale, from Tallahassee, FL. This 17 year old racer took 5th overall in the Jerdon Mountain Challenge and almost broke the 6hr mark, with an impressive time of 6hrs 5min. With weekends like this, we’re sure we’ll be seeing his name pop up more and more. In addition to Hale, Andrew Blackstock and Noah Pawlik were 2 other Juniors racing ORAMM. Both at 15 years old, they endured with solid times and more importantly, finished the race.

 For complete results, visit: http://www.blueridgeadventures.net/2016-oramm-results/

It was another great day in Old Fort and smiles could be found all around the finish line area. Lots of stories shared and a feeling of accomplishment for everyone who trained, traveled and experienced one of the best mountain bike events in the country. While the podium often gets much of the attention, for hundreds of other riders, ORAMM is about setting a goal and pushing yourself, not necessarily to win, but to just have a good ride. For some, ORAMM is a race. For most, it’s a mountain bike adventure and one that brings riders back year after year.

-Written by Seyl Park

Pisgah 111k/55.5k Report and Results

Pisgah 111k

Pisgah Productions dished out another weekend of epic racing in North Carolina with its Pisgah 111k and 55.5k events last Saturday and Sunday. The courses, which both feature a number of classic Pisgah highlights, some hard hike-a-bikes, and a few stream crossings for good measure, were looking a little more intimidating than usual after a week of soaking rain.

Thomas Turner on his way to a win in the Pisgah 111k

Thomas Turner on his way to a win in the Pisgah 111k. Photo Credit: Icon Media Asheville

A stacked field rolled out of the Pisgah Ranger Station early Saturday morning for the 111k, with things separating almost immediately on the first gravel climb of the day up to Buckhorn Gap. A group of seven including heavy hitters Thomas Turner (Jamis), Sam Koerber (Industry Nine), Gordon Wadsworth (Blue Ridge Bicycle Co.), and Tristan Cowie (Sycamore Cycles) crested the top together on their way to the days first major challenge: Squirrel Gap trail.

It was there that Cowie first showed his cards, attacking up Squirrel and quickly establishing a gap. “He was riding next level today,” Turner said later. Luck, however, was not on Cowie’s side, and he flatted soon after on the Cantrell Creek descent, allowing Koerber and Turner to slip past. And at Aid #1 that’s where things stood, Koerber followed by Turner out front, with Cowie chasing back and Wadsworth and Chris Tries (Piney Flats Bicycle Co.) rounding out the top five.

Gordon Wadsworth notching yet another overall podium on his singlespeed.

Gordon Wadsworth notching yet another overall podium on his singlespeed. Photo Credit: Icon Media Asheville

By Aid#2 a resurgent Cowie had ridden himself back to the front, taking Koerber with him. “I tried to stay on his wheel and lasted about 10 minutes,” Koerber would say later. Cowie was on his way to a big win, when another flat descending Spencer Gap trail ended his day. With Cowie walking out of the woods, Koerber led through Aid #3 and up Laurel Mountain trail when he too had flat trouble. He tried to put some air in, but the tire wouldn’t seal, forcing him to put in a tube – passing the lead to Turner in the process. Turner kept things smooth through Aid #4 and over Black Mountain trail to the finish, taking his second 111k win in two years, with Koerber rolling across in 2nd. Behind, Wadsworth piloted his singlespeed to a well-deserved 3rd overall.

In the women’s race, an expected battle between Kaysee Armstrong (Liv) and Nina Otter (Liberty Bikes) never materialized. Armstrong dropped Otter on the first climb of the day up to Buckhorn Gap and rode steadily from there, cruising to line and repeating last year’s win. Otter struggled to find her rhythm, and perennial Pisgah powerhouse Brenda Simril (Motor Mile Racing) rode to the second spot of on the podium, with Otter rounding out the top three.

Women's podium at the 111k.

Women’s podium at the 111k. Photo Credit: Icon Media Asheville


Pisgah 55.5K

A majority of 111k racers awoke early for round two on Sunday, and they were joined by a few new faces for the 55.5k. While it’s half the distance of Saturday’s race, the 55.5k is a slightly slower course, and riders were in for another big day in the saddle.

The field rolling into the first singletrack of the 55.5k.

The field rolling into the first singletrack of the 55.5k. Photo Credit: Icon Media Asheville

In the women’s race, it was Elizabeth Sampey, who had passed on the previous day’s racing, turning the screws at the front. Kaysee Armstrong (Liv) gamely kept things close, but she was unable to match the pace of Sampey, and took second. Brenda Simril (Motor Mile Racing) took her second podium in as many days with third.

Men's 55.5k podium.

Men’s 55.5k podium. Photo Credit: Icon Media Asheville

In the men’s race, it was Saturday’s top riders Thomas Turner (Jamis) and Sam Koerber (Industry Nine) riding together at the front all day. The two got an early gap by riding nearly all of the climb up Black Mountain trail, a stretch that forced most of the field to hike. Turner led for almost the whole day, but a crash that sent him off his bike on the final descent down Black Mountain trail gave Koerber a gap he held to the line. A very strong ride from Nick Bragg (Piney Flats Racing) netted him a well deserved podium as he crossed the line in third.

Full 111k Results

Full 55.5k Results


Turner, Sheets Take the Overall Wins in Pisgah

Thomas Turner (Jamis) pulled off an epic upset at the Pisgah Stage Race yesterday, becoming the first rider to beat Jeremiah Bishop (Topeak-Ergon) in a stage race on American soil. Bishop’s streak had included wins at multiple editions of the Pisgah Stage Race, the Transylvannia Epic, Breck Epic, and others. However, despite innumerable attacks throughout the day, in the end Bishop was only able to put 10 seconds into Turner on the final stage, not enough to take the GC lead. Sara Sheets (Oscar Blues) took her forth stage win in five days to claim the overall win in the Women’s Open race.

Check out the highlight video and results for the week below.

Men’s Open Results:

Position Bib # Name Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 Stage 5 Overall Time Division Team Name
1 93 THOMAS TURNER  1:59:08.2  2:26:51.4  2:44:09.4  2:41:27.0  2:09:07.5 12:00:43 Open Men Team Jamis
2 94 JEREMIAH BISHOP  2:05:08.1  2:25:46.6  2:44:45.5  2:37:46.8  2:09:06.3 12:02:33 Open Men Team Topeak Ergon
3 84 CORY RIMMER  2:09:54.7  2:34:37.9  2:57:30.7  2:57:52.4  2:18:59.8 12:58:56 Open Men Kona Bikes / Nox Composites / Provision Sports Medicine
4 92 DAVID FORKNER  2:03:25.1  2:43:48.7  3:02:15.3  2:58:24.7  2:21:31.4 13:09:25 Open Men Team CTS
5 81 WILLIAM HARRISON  2:04:33.8  2:41:37.4  3:10:27.3  3:46:22.8  2:20:53.1 14:03:54 Open Men Clemmons Bicycle Racing
6 85 ANDRE LANDRY  2:17:42.9  2:56:19.8  3:09:33.8  3:21:43.3  2:41:42.5 14:27:02 Open Men mikes bike shop
7 96 ERIC INGALSBE  2:22:17.3  2:55:12.5  3:09:36.2  3:13:00.6  2:55:44.3 14:35:51 Open Men The Bike Shop
8 80 MATTHEW KESECKER  2:35:21.0  3:23:07.8  3:37:56.2  3:38:28.1  2:56:24.6 16:11:18 Open Men CAMBO / Hammer Nutrition
9 86 BRENT CROMWELL  2:46:45.9  3:39:08.6  3:42:57.7  3:42:44.9  2:47:35.9 16:39:13 Open Men N/A
10 89 CURTIS HOYT  2:58:53.5  4:01:50.9  3:49:48.4  3:47:00.2  3:05:07.7 17:42:41 Open Men Slippery Sasquatch Racing
11 97 MIKE FOLLAND  3:12:29.3  3:34:01.0  3:36:43.6  4:36:52.1  2:44:59.8 17:45:06 Open Men
12 98 DAVE GRANT  2:49:08.6  3:54:44.3  4:02:48.1  4:04:53.1  2:57:27.6 17:49:02 Open Men
13 78 JEFFREY CONLEY  2:55:45.0  4:05:55.8  4:20:24.8  4:14:39.5  3:15:26.1 18:52:11 Open Men Adventure Medical Group
14 82 CHRISTOPHER DOBBINS  3:34:11.8  3:47:42.8  4:03:23.3  4:37:15.9  3:11:17.0 19:13:51 Open Men Cool Breeze / Trek
15 193 BURKE SAUNDERS  2:58:02.8  4:19:48.0  4:39:04.2  5:18:36.9  4:06:38.4 21:22:10 Open Men Industry Nine / Endless Bike Co. / Wicked Wash
16 83 JONATHAN GARRICK  3:34:03.5  5:19:48.0  4:04:20.2  4:36:50.3 DNS Open Men Cool Breeze / Trek
17 91 NEKO MULALLY  2:57:43.1  3:45:16.4  4:39:03.5  5:18:36.5 DNS Open Men GSTAAD-Scott

Women’s Open Results:

1 88 SARA SHEETS  2:27:32.4  3:11:51.7  3:36:02.9  3:40:48.2  2:49:25.0 15:45:40 Open Women Oskar Blues
2 5 KAYSEE ARMSTRONG  2:29:55.0  3:28:50.6  3:46:21.5  3:25:57.3  2:48:06.9 15:59:11 Open Women Kona/ Provision Sports & Medicine
3 79 ALLY STACHER  2:26:34.4  3:26:30.9  3:39:33.4  3:49:46.2  2:39:31.2 16:01:56 Open Women Ally’s Bar
4 90 VIVIANE FAVERY-COSTA  2:42:29.8  3:36:42.5  3:59:17.3  4:03:53.7  2:59:13.8 17:21:37 Open Women Specialized Women Brasil / Pedal Urbano
5 2 HEATHER DAVIS  3:14:32.7  4:31:53.1  4:49:21.1  5:17:15.2  3:39:48.0 21:32:50 Open Women Ally’s Bar

Pisgah Stage Race Stages 3&4 Results and Video

With 4 of 5stages completed, the Pisgah Stage Race is far from over. In the Open Men’s race, Thomas Turner (Jamis) and Jeremiah Bishop (Topeak-Ergon) have been battling all week. Turner snuck ahead to take his second stage win on Stage 3, but Bishop came roaring back today, taking the Queen Stage and bringing himself within 2 minutes of the GC lead with one day remaining.

On the women’s side, Sara Sheets (Oscar Blues) looks to have a stranglehold on the GC, though today it was Kaysee Armstrong (Kona) who took the stage win by a commanding 25 minutes. If she can put in a similar performance tomorrow, Armstrong could well take overall.

Stage 5 will see riders tackle some of the toughest descents of the week, including Farlow Gap and Daniel Ridge. With some much on the line in the GC, riders will no doubt have to take some risks on the final day if they want to claim the overall Pisgah Stage Race title.

Check out results through Stage 4 and the Land of Sky Media highlight video below.

Open Men Results Through 4 Stages:

1 THOMAS TURNER  1:59:08.2  2:26:51.4  2:44:09.4  2:41:27.0 9:51:36 Team Jamis
2 JEREMIAH BISHOP  2:05:08.1  2:25:46.6  2:44:45.5  2:37:46.8 9:53:27 Team Topeak Ergon
3 CORY RIMMER  2:09:54.7  2:34:37.9  2:57:30.7  2:57:52.4 10:39:56 Kona Bikes / Nox Composites / Provision Sports Medicine
4 DAVID FORKNER  2:03:25.1  2:43:48.7  3:02:15.3  2:58:24.7 10:47:54 Team CTS
5 ERIC INGALSBE  2:22:17.3  2:55:12.5  3:09:36.2  3:13:00.6 11:40:07 The Bike Shop
6 WILLIAM HARRISON  2:04:33.8  2:41:37.4  3:10:27.3  3:46:22.8 11:43:01 Clemmons Bicycle Racing
7 ANDRE LANDRY  2:17:42.9  2:56:19.8  3:09:33.8  3:21:43.3 11:45:20 mikes bike shop
8 MATTHEW KESECKER  2:35:21.0  3:23:07.8  3:37:56.2  3:38:28.1 13:14:53 CAMBO / Hammer Nutrition
9 BRENT CROMWELL  2:46:45.9  3:39:08.6  3:42:57.7  3:42:44.9 13:51:37 N/A
10 CURTIS HOYT  2:58:53.5  4:01:50.9  3:49:48.4  3:47:00.2 14:37:33 Slippery Sasquatch Racing

Open Women Results Through 4 Stages:

1 SARA SHEETS  2:27:32.4  3:11:51.7  3:36:02.9  3:40:48.2 12:56:15 Oskar Blues
2 KAYSEE ARMSTRONG  2:29:55.0  3:28:50.6  3:46:21.5  3:25:57.3 13:11:04 Kona/ Provision Sports & Medicine
3 ALLY STACHER  2:26:34.4  3:26:30.9  3:39:33.4  3:49:46.2 13:22:25 Ally’s Bar
4 VIVIANE FAVERY-COSTA  2:42:29.8  3:36:42.5  3:59:17.3  4:03:53.7 14:22:23 Specialized Women Brasil / Pedal Urbano
5 HEATHER DAVIS  3:14:32.7  4:31:53.1  4:49:21.1  5:17:15.2 17:53:02 Ally’s Bar
-6 CATHY ZEGLINSKI  2:38:12.2  3:34:14.8  3:53:11.0 DNS Team Whistler / Scott

Click Here For Full Results

Pisgah Stage Race Stage 1 Video Highlights

Ally Stacher (Ally’s Bar) and Thomas Turner (Jamis) took the wins on day one of the Pisgah Stage Race yesterday. Stacher, a former pro road racer who switched to mountain bike racing this season, was unfazed by the wet conditions and cruised to the win. In the men’s race, Turner spent most of the day dueling with Jeremiah Bishop (Topeak-Ergon). The two spent much of the day together, before Turner got a small gap on the final gravel climb which he held down the Cove Creek trail descent to the finish.

Full Results Here.

Check out the video highlights from Land of Sky Media below.